Jackson estate settles lawsuit over Heal the World
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson’s estate reached a settlement Tuesday that ended its lengthy fight with a nonprofit that claimed it was the successor to the singer’s Heal the World charity.
The deal came just as a trial was set to begin to decide ownership of lucrative trademarks.
The singer’s estate battled the Heal the World Foundation in federal court for more than 18 months, alleging it was misusing trademarks and likeness rights to create an association with Jackson’s defunct charity.
The new incarnation of Heal the World Foundation had said it was given authority by Jackson’s attorney to run the foundation in 2005. In recent months, it placed Jackson’s mother, Katherine, on its board of directors and also collaborated with the late singer’s children.
Katherine Jackson had been expected to testify during the federal trial, along with one of the singer’s former attorneys and his former spokeswoman.
In a statement, Jackson’s estate said the settlement calls for it to retain the rights to the Heal the World charity and rights to any trademarks the current foundation held.
The remainder of the agreement remained confidential.
Jackson founded Heal the World in 1992 but later abandoned it as he fought child abuse allegations.
The foundation’s current director, Melissa Johnson, claimed one of Jackson’s former attorneys told her the pop star wanted her to run the foundation in 2005. The estate said in a statement that the settlement means Johnson cannot use the Heal the World name or Jackson’s likeness any longer.
Her attorney, Edgar Pease, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.